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Publication numberUS5854475 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/726,594
Publication dateDec 29, 1998
Filing dateOct 7, 1996
Priority dateOct 7, 1996
Fee statusPaid
Also published asCA2211175A1, CA2211175C
Publication number08726594, 726594, US 5854475 A, US 5854475A, US-A-5854475, US5854475 A, US5854475A
InventorsJohn C. Goodwin, III
Original AssigneeNcr Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of displaying a government program message by an electronic price label
US 5854475 A
Abstract
A method of displaying a government program message by an electronic price label which uses a government program indicator. The government program message is stored with the government program indicator in a first location. The government program indicator is stored in a second location. A control message addressed to the EPL is created by reading the government program indicator for the EPL from the second location and reading the government program message from the first location. The control message to the EPL is transmitted. The control message is received by the EPL. Finally, the government program message is displayed by the EPL. The first location may be a price look-up (PLU) file and/or an EPL data file.
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Claims(14)
What is claimed is:
1. A method of displaying a government program message by an electronic price label (EPL) comprising the steps of:
storing the government program message with a government program indicator associated with the government program message in a first location;
storing the government program indicator in a second location;
creating a control message addressed to the EPL including the substeps of
reading the government program indicator for the EPL from the second location; and
reading the government program message from the first location;
wirelessly transmitting the control message to the EPL;
receiving the control message by the EPL; and
electronically displaying the government program message by the EPL.
2. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the second location is a price look-up (PLU) file.
3. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein the second location is an EPL data file.
4. A method of displaying a government program message by an electronic price label (EPL) comprising the steps of:
storing the government program message and a government program indicator associated with the government program message in a government program data file;
storing the government program indicator in a price look-up (PLU) file;
reading the PLU file to obtain the government program indicator;
storing the government program indicator in an EPL data file;
creating a message addressed to the EPL including the substeps of
reading the government program indicator for the EPL from the EPL data file; and
reading the government program data file to obtain the government program message;
wirelessly transmitting the message to the EPL;
receiving the message by the EPL; and
electronically displaying the government program message by the EPL.
5. An electronic price label (EPL) for displaying a government program message comprising:
a control circuit;
a memory;
a receiver for receiving a wirelessly transmitted control message including the government program message; and
an electronic display which displays the government program message subject to control of the control circuit which also causes the government program message to be stored in the memory.
6. An electronic price label (EPL) system for displaying a government program message associated with a government program indicator comprising:
an EPL including an electronic display which displays the government program message for an item associated with the EPL; and
a computer which transmits a control message which is addressed to the EPL and which contains the government program message for the government program indicator associated with the item.
7. The system as recited in claim 6, further comprising:
a table which links the government program indicator with the government program message; and
a price look-up (PLU) file which contains a record of the item including the government program indicator;
wherein the computer reads the PLU file and the table to obtain the government program message for transmission to the EPL.
8. The system as recited in claim 7, further comprising:
an EPL data file which contains a record of the EPL including the government program indicator;
wherein the computer reads the PLU file for the government program indicator for the item, copies the government program indicator to the EPL data file, reads the EPL data file and the table to obtain the government program message for transmission to the EPL.
9. The method of claim 1 further comprising the steps of:
wirelessly transmitting a price for an item associated with the EPL obtained from a price look-up (PLU) file; and
electronically displaying the price for the item by the EPL.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein the government program message indicates that food stamps may be used to purchase an item associated with the EPL.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein the government program message indicates that the women with infant children (WIC) program applies to an item associated with the EPL.
12. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of:
updating the second location to store the government program indicator for a new item.
13. The system of claim 6 wherein the computer wirelessly transmits a price of an item associated with the EPL and the EPL electronically displays both the government program message and the price of the item.
14. The system of claim 13 wherein the price is stored in a price look up (PLU) file.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present invention is related to the following commonly assigned and co-pending U.S. applications:

"Method Of Displaying A Product Restriction Message By An Electronic Price Label", filed Oct. 7, 1986 invented by Goodwin, and having a Ser. No. 08/726,595 and

"Method Of Displaying A Promotional Message By An Electronic Price Label", filed Oct. 7, 1996 invented by Goodwin, and having a Ser. No. 08/726,596.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to electronic signage, and more specifically to a method of displaying a government program message by an electronic price label (EPL).

EPL systems typically include a plurality of EPLs for each merchandise item in a store. EPLs typically display the price of corresponding merchandise items on store shelves and are typically attached to a rail along the leading edge of the shelves. A store may contain thousands of EPLs to display the prices of the merchandise items. The EPLs are coupled to a central server from where information about the EPLs is typically maintained in an EPL data file. Price information displayed by the EPLs is obtained from the PLU file.

To identify items eligible for government subsistence programs, such as the food stamp program and the women with infant children (WIC) program, EPL systems use paper shelf talkers or bibs. However, these shelf talkers must be installed manually, thereby increasing the cost and setup time associated with special programs.

Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a method of displaying a government program message by an EPL that avoids the use of paper shelf talkers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the teachings of the present invention, a method of displaying a government program message by an electronic price label (EPL) is provided.

A method of displaying a government program message by an electronic price label (EPL) includes the steps of storing the government program message with a government program indicator associated with the government program message in a first location, storing the government program indicator in a second location, creating a control message addressed to the EPL including the substeps of reading the government program indicator for the EPL from the second location and reading the government program message from the first location, transmitting the control message to the EPL, receiving the control message by the EPL, and displaying the government program message by the EPL.

The second location may be a price look-up (PLU) file in which the government program indicator is stored within the record of the item. The second location may also be an EPL data file in which the government program indicator is stored within a record of the EPL. In the latter case, the government program indicator may be copied from the PLU file to the EPL data file.

It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a method of displaying a government program message by an EPL.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a method of displaying a government program message by an EPL that makes paper shelf talkers unnecessary.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a method of displaying a government program message by an EPL that displays special text or graphics.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a method of displaying a government program message by an EPL that makes use of a government program indicator in a price look-up file.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional benefits and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which this invention relates from the subsequent description of the preferred embodiments and the appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a store system;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an EPL displaying a government program message; and

FIG. 3 is a flow diagram illustrating a method of displaying a government program message.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to FIG. 1, store system 10 includes electronic price label (EPL) computer 12 and EPL 14. EPL computer 12 and EPL 14 may communicate with each other using wireless communication, cable communication, or a combination of both.

EPL computer 12 records, schedules, and transmits all messages to EPL 14 and analyzes status messages from EPL 14. Messages from EPL computer 12 include price change messages and diagnostic messages.

EPL computer 12 transmits a message containing a government program message from EPL government program data file 28.

Government program data within EPL government program data file 28 includes government program messages and a government program indicator which uniquely identifies each government program message. Government program messages identify items eligible for purchase under special government programs, such as the food stamp program and women with infant children (WIC) program. Government program messages may include text and/or special graphic images. Such items have traditionally been identified using paper shelf talkers. Control circuit 16 may display price separately, or as an integral part of a government program message. The government program messages and government program indicators are arranged as a table in EPL government program data file, such as the one shown below as Table I.

              TABLE I______________________________________Indicator   Government Program Message______________________________________00          (No message)01          FS (Food Stamps)02          WIC (Women with infant children)03          (both message 01 and message 02 displayed)______________________________________

EPL computer 12 maintains and uses EPL data file 26, which contains item information, identification information, item price verifier information, and status information for EPL 14 and other EPLs within system 10.

Storage medium 24 stores EPL data file 26 and EPL government program data file 28.

EPL 14 is one of many EPLs within system 10. EPL 14 includes control circuit 16, memory 20, and display 22.

Control circuit 16 controls the internal operation of EPL 14. Control circuit 16 stores received messages from EPL computer 12 and transmits response messages to EPL computer 12. Control circuit 16 also controls the display of price and government program messages, including blinking.

Upon receiving a message containing a government program message, control circuit 16 stores the government program message in memory 20 and displays the government program message using display 22.

Memory 20 stores government program messages and other data necessary for the proper operation of system 10.

Display 22 displays price and government program messages. Display 22 is preferably a liquid crystal display (LCD).

Transaction server 32 is a host to a plurality of transaction terminals and its primary function is to provide price and item information to the transaction terminals from a price look-up (PLU) file 36. Transaction server 32 and EPL computer 12 may also be one computer.

Under the method of the present invention, PLU file 36 also contains government program indicators for preselected items. Government program indicators may be added to PLU file 36 by an operator using input device 30. Input device 30 may be a keyboard or other suitable input device.

Storage medium 34 contains PLU file 36.

Turning now to FIG. 2, EPL 14 is shown in more detail. The government program message 38 identified by government program indicator "03" in Table 1 is shown, and identifies the item as being eligible under the food stamp and WIC programs. Both messages associated with government program indicators "01" and "02" are displayed at the same time.

Turning now to FIG. 3, a method of displaying government program messages begins with START 40.

In step 42, EPL government program data is stored within EPL government program data file 28.

In step 44, input device 30 records a government program indicator entered for an item by an operator.

In step 46, transaction server 32 stores the government program indicator in the item's record in PLU file 36.

In step 48, EPL computer 12 reads PLU file 36 and obtains the government program indicator.

In step 50, EPL computer 12 stores the government program indicator in EPL data file 26.

In step 52, EPL computer 12 creates a message for EPL 14 by reading the government program indicator in EPL data file 26. EPL computer 12 obtains a government program message corresponding to the item's government program indicator from EPL government program data file 28.

In step 54, EPL computer 12 transmits the message addressed to EPL 14.

In step 56, EPL 14 receives and acknowledges the message.

In step 58, control circuit 16 stores the government program message in memory 20.

In step 60, control circuit 16 causes display 22 to display the government program message associated with the government program indicator.

In step 62, the method ends.

Although the present invention has been described with particular reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, variations and modifications of the present invention can be effected within the spirit and scope of the following claims.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6047263 *Dec 4, 1998Apr 4, 2000Ncr CorporationMethod of displaying information by an electronic price label
US6542873 *Jun 6, 2000Apr 1, 2003Ncr CorporationSystem and method for using an enhanced external data interface to display data in EPL systems
US6749116Jan 10, 2003Jun 15, 2004Michael J. MassaroDisplay system for store shelves
US8515873 *Apr 20, 2011Aug 20, 2013SolutranWIC check processing with vendor number overlay system and method
US8660957Feb 3, 2012Feb 25, 2014SolutranControl features in a system and method for processing checks and check transactions
US8788322Jun 10, 2008Jul 22, 2014Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Holdings CorporationIntegration of WIC items and transactions into personal shopping devices
US20030136832 *Jan 10, 2003Jul 24, 2003Massaro Michael J.Display system for store shelves
US20060149626 *Dec 30, 2004Jul 6, 2006Bennett David LIntegration of WIC items and transactions into personal shopping devices
US20080243621 *Jun 10, 2008Oct 2, 2008International Business Machines CorporationIntegration of wic items and transactions into personal shopping devices
US20090254419 *Mar 26, 2009Oct 8, 2009Toshiba Tec Kabushiki KaishaInformation display system, display device, and server
US20090263004 *Oct 22, 2009Kari HawkinsPrioritized exception processing system and method with in a check processing system and method
US20120101947 *Apr 20, 2011Apr 26, 2012Solutran, Inc.WIC Check Processing with Vendor Number Overlay System and Method
Classifications
U.S. Classification235/383, 235/472.01
International ClassificationG09F9/00
Cooperative ClassificationG09F9/00
European ClassificationG09F9/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 7, 1996ASAssignment
Owner name: NCR CORPORATION, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GOODWIN, JOHN C.;REEL/FRAME:008257/0749
Effective date: 19960903
Jan 4, 2002FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Mar 20, 2006FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
May 25, 2010FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Jan 15, 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:NCR CORPORATION;NCR INTERNATIONAL, INC.;REEL/FRAME:032034/0010
Effective date: 20140106
Apr 18, 2016ASAssignment
Owner name: JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., ILLINOIS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:NCR CORPORATION;NCR INTERNATIONAL, INC.;REEL/FRAME:038646/0001
Effective date: 20160331